Today I bring you a guest article by Anne Kenney of Bullseye Marketing: I just love learning about how the brain works when it comes to marketing and branding and couldn’t resist sharing!

I kind of hate to expose these psychological triggers to you because I feel like I’m betraying the secrets of my profession.

Most folks just hate the idea that marketers use psychology on them.  People think they’re getting tricked.  I always argue that there’s no “tricking.” We are all grown-up enough to make our decisions – good and bad.  And, no diligent marketer uses it malevolently.  Yes, they’re will always be a few charlatans out there using flat-out deception. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The truth of marketing is that it is art AND science.  The science is all the measurements you do to see if your marketing works like web traffic and gross sales.  As for art, it’s far more than the creativity of artwork or logos. The true art of marketing is finding a persuasive message that motivates a prospect to take action.

In the age of social media, where the customer is driving much of your marketing and sales conversation, they nevertheless have their own motivations for seeking out your product and are still susceptible to persuasion.

One of my favorite authors, Dr. Robert Cialdini,  summarizes beautifully the motivators of human behavior that can help you shape your marketing. From: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert B. Cialdini (Paperback – Dec 26, 2006)

  • Reciprocation. People are more willing to comply with requests (for favors, services, information, concessions, etc.) from those who have provided such things first. For example, according to the American Disabled Veterans organization, mailing out a simple appeal for donations produces an 18% success rate; but, enclosing a small gift–personalized address labels–boosts the success rate to 35%
  • Commitment/Consistency. People are more willing to be moved in a particular direction if they see it as consistent with an existing or recent commitment. Consider how small that commitment can be and still motivate change forcefully: Gorden Sinclair, a Chicago restaurant owner, was beset by the problem of no-shows—people who made table reservations but failed to appear and failed to call to cancel. He reduced the problem by first getting a small commitment. He instructed his receptionists to stop saying, “Please call if you change your plans” and to start saying, Will you call us if you change your plans?” The no-show rate dropped from 30% to 10% immediately.
  • Authority. People are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of a communicator to whom they attribute relevant authority or expertise. One study showed that 3 times as many pedestrians were willing to follow a man into traffic against the red light when he was merely dressed as an authority in a business suit and tie.
  • Social Validation. People are more willing to take a recommended action if they see evidence that many others, especially similar others, are taking it. One researcher went door to door collecting for charity and carrying a list of others in the area who had already contributed. The longer the list, the more contributions it produced.
  • Scarcity. People find objects and opportunities more attractive to the degree that they are scarce, rare, or dwindling in availability. Even information that is scarce is more effective. A beef importer in the US informed his customers (honestly) that, because of weather conditions in Australia, there was likely to be a shortage of Australian beef. His orders more than doubled. However, when he added (also honestly) that this information came from his company’s exclusive contacts in the Australian National Weather Service, orders increased by 600%!
  • Liking/Friendship. People prefer to say yes to those they know and like. For example, research done on Tupperware Home Demonstration parties shows that guests are 3 times more likely to purchase products because they like the party’s hostess than because they like the products.”

Anne Kenney, Chief Wrangler, Bullseye Marketing, runs her small business marketing agency that helps her clients find their clients. She works with you from being overwhelmed with ideas to finishing your marketing.

With 25 years of corporate and small business marketing experience, she help clients plan their marketing, figure out what types of media works for them, shows them how to quit wasting money on ineffective practices, and gets their marketing completed. Read more at